GRAND Finalists were decided, premierships determined, and controversy reigned supreme in a highly memorable weekend of football.
TAC Cup Grand Finalists determined
Given the results from the week before, it was no surprise to see Dandenong Stingrays and Oakleigh Chargers emerge as the two grand finalists for 2018. The Stingrays belted the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels by 110 points, then knocked off Sandringham Dragons by seven goals in the finals series, while the Oakleigh Chargers made light work of both Western Jets (120 points) and Gippsland Power (93 points) to hold a mind-boggling 101-point average winning margin in their past three games. It is hard to imagine the side with just one loss for the season – and that being a six-point defeat – might head into the decider as underdogs, but the Chargers form has been so strong, it will be interesting to see how much pressure the Stingrays can put on them. Hopefully it is a belter of a game.
Cats claw their way into decider
Geelong’s Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s side only just made it into the finals with a round to go, having stiff competition from Darebin Falcons in the run home, but they made the most of their finals series, with terrific wins over the top two teams heading into the final round in Northern Territory (NT) Thunder and Collingwood. The Magpies were bundled out in straight sets after losing to Hawthorn in the semi-final, and then Geelong in the preliminary final on the weekend. Now the rivalry between Geelong and Hawthorn will reignite in the VFL Women’s with certainly no love lost between the two supporter bases.
Dream prelim set up
It was the potential preliminary final that practically everyone wanted to see – the two biggest supporter based AFL clubs in Collingwood and Richmond facing off under lights. The Tigers deservedly go in as strong favourites, but with the game sold out within an hour to anyone not holding a Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) or AFL membership – and no general admission tickets available – the MCG will be rocking on Friday night with likely the largest crowd for a preliminary final on record. Richmond has beaten Collingwood both times this season, but the Magpies have pushed them for three quarters despite sustaining two injuries early in the games. Everyone wants an absolute cracker, so hopefully that is how it turns out.
Nineteenth man controversy strikes twice
It is hard to believe in this day and age teams can make the mistake of having 19 men on the field, but that is exactly what happened, not once, but twice on the weekend. It was not in a local bush league, but in two important state league knockout finals. Southport was found to have 19 men on the field in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) Grand Final against Sydney Swans reserves, and even got done after a headcount. But rather than wipe their score – as is an option – the Sharks were that far ahead it was deemed that nineteenth man had no bearing on the outcome. However, it was much trickier in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), when North Adelaide came back from 47 points down to run over the top of Woodville West Torrens in the preliminary final. The Roosters had a nineteenth man on the field for five minutes when they booted 1.2, and the final result? North Adelaide won by five points. In the end, it went to a tribunal hearing, and it was decided the result would stand, but North Adelaide would be fined $10,000 and docked four premiership points for the start of next season. It will be interesting to see how the grand final plays out, with Norwood the side awaiting the Roosters in the Grand Final.
North Launceston claims flag
North Launceston backed up its terrific regular season form with a five-goal win over Lauderdale in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) Grand Final on the weekend. The Bombers finished five games clear on top of the table, and were red-hot favourites going into the clash, but had to overcome an early challenge from their opponents to get the job done. North Launceston lead by just one point at half-time, before piling on four goals to one in the second half – albeit with some horrendous inaccuracy – 13 behinds. It was enough to get the job done, however as North Melbourne Next Generation Academy player, Tarryn Thomas booted two of his side’s seven goals – and took a massive hanger in the goalsquare – and was named in the best in a strong performance in the red and black.